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Column 311Mr. Arthur E. R. Manners
Mrs. Sandra M. Meredith-Vulja
Mr. Robert Miller
Mr. D. J. Pett, MA
Mr. Barry Picken, JP
Mr. J. O. Pugh
Mr. Mark A. Sullivan
Mrs. Jean H. Thornton
Mr. Percy J. Tinson
The transport users' consultative committee for Scotland are :-- Mr. John A. Corrie (Chairman)
Mrs. Eleanor Brownlee
Miss Pamela Clough
Ms Deirdre Forsyth
Mr. Stephen C. Gibbs
Miss Cecily E. Giles, CBE
Mr. Lawrence Kemp
Captain Roderick Mackinnon, JP
Mrs. Jeanette M. Mason
Mr. Alan T. Rees
Dr. Douglas G. Williamson
Mr. John Wilson, JP
The transport users' consultative committee for Wales : Mr. Charles A. Hogg, JP (Chairman)
Mrs. Margaret A. Brown
Mr. Ashley M. D. Clay
Mr. H. Mansel Davey, JP
Mr. Martin R. Davies
Mr. David B. T. Deere
Mr. Phillip C. Evans
Mr. Robert L. Griffin
Mrs. Gillian M. G. Jones
Dr. William P. Race
Miss Kathleen J. Smith
Mr. Robin C. Smith
Councillor John D. A. Thompson
Councillor William J. Williams
Mr. Owen P. Williams
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer to the right hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Williams) of 1 February, Official Report, column 612, if he will list exports to Malaysia under standard international trade classifications (a) 792, (b) 793 and (c) 981.29 for 1982 to 1993.
Mr. Needham : The information is given in the table.
Value of exports to Malaysia (£000's) Year |SITC 792 |SITC 793 |SITC 981.29 ------------------------------------------------------------ 1982 |6,976 |338 |NA 1983 |8,054 |2,318 |NA 1984 |8,712 |192 |NA 1985 |CC |CC |NA 1986 |3,785 |228 |NA 1987 |2,461 |2,077 |NA 1988 |CC |CC |CC 1989 |CC |CC |CC 1990 |CC |CC |0 1991 |6,174 |789 |0 1992 |CC |CC |0 1993 |CC |CC |CC Notes: SITC-Standard International Trade Classification. 792-Aircraft and associated equipment; spacecraft ( including satellites) and spacecraft launch vehicles; and parts thereof. 793-Ships, boats (including hovercraft) and floating structures. 981.29-Munitions of war and parts thereof, not elsewhere specified. CC-Figures not available due to commercial confidentiality. NA-The SITC was revised in 1988. As a result, exports prior to 1988 corresponding to the current heading 981.29 cannot be separately identified. Source: HM Customs and Excise.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the full complement of staff in his Department's disqualification unit; and how many are currently in post.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The complement of permanent staff of the disqualification unit is currently 50.5. There are 47.5 staff in post, in addition to which there is a total of 11 staff seconded from the private sector, on loan from other Government Departments or employed on a casual basis.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will review the bankruptcy laws in the light of Roger Levitt's discharge from bankruptcy.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : I have no plans to do so.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list each subdivision of his competitiveness unit; together with an outline of their work programme.
Mr. Sainsbury : I refer the hon. Member to the Minis93 returns, and the DTI functional directory, both of which are in the Library of the House. A new branch is being established to spread best purchasing practice in both the public and private sectors. The Minis 94 returns will set out its work programme.
Mr. Wilson : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps he takes to ensure that coal imported to the United Kingdom from Colombia is mined under conditions which do not breach international standards on the use of child labour; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : We have received assurances from the Colombian authorities that none of the United Kingdom's coal imports from Colombia are produced by child labour, and that their Government are attempting to eliminate the practice where it does occur in illegal family-run mines. Most of the coal produced in Colombia for the United Kingdom comes from the El Cerrejon mine which is run by Exxon to high standards. Representatives of the United Kingdom's two major coal importers have been to that mine to inspect conditions and are satisfied that no children are employed there.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to safeguard the environment in areas likely to be affected by the granting of compulsory rights orders by the local authority after privatisation of the coal industry.
Mr. Eggar : The Government have announced a review of the regime for compulsory access to land for minerals extraction contained in the Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act 1966, which applies to all minerals including coal. The intention of this review is to produce an integrated regime for access to minerals that will be appropriate for the next century. As a transitional measure during the review, the Government intend to retain the compulsory rights order (CRO) provisions of the Opencast Coal Act 1958, but only until the end of 1999.
Column 313It is the Government's intention that CROs should be available to opencast operations as a matter of last resort only. The Coal Industry Bill would transfer to the Coal Authority the power to make CROs, but it is intended that the authority should not exercise this power unless it is satisfied that the applicant has made all reasonable efforts to secure the rights by agreement, but this has not been possible because : the owners of the land are too numerous, or cannot be identified ; or the owner(s) do not have power to grant the rights sought ; or the owner(s) have unreasonably refused to negotiate, or sought unreasonable terms. To come into force, a CRO must be confirmed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, or for Scotland or Wales as appropriate. My right hon. Friends will confirm a CRO only if they are satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so.
As now, CROs will only be used in exceptional circumstances. There is no reason at this stage to think that the use of CROs will more or less likely in any area of Britain's coalfields.
All new opencast development proposals will of course require planning permission and will continue to be scrutinised by planning authorities. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has recently issued draft revised guidelines, which set demanding environmental tests for the industry.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what safeguards and compensatory arrangements he plans after privatisation of the coal industry to protect local communities and individuals from pollution of rivers and streams by old coal workings; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : The Government will ensure that all British Coal's current responsibilities will continue to be discharged following privatisation. The Coal Authority will be responsible for water pollution from abandoned mines, except to the extent that any part of the responsibility may be passed to the private sector through leases.
All discharges into controlled waters, including any from abandoned mines, will continue to be subject to the pollution control regime of the Water Resources Act 1991. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment is currently reviewing the legal framework governing discharges from abandoned mines in general.
Mr. Duncan Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to offer to the private sector further pits closed by British Coal.
Mr. Eggar : The Government are committed to ensuring that any closing pits are made available to the private sector.
To date, 28 pits have been made available by British Coal for lease/licence. Decisions on lease/licence are a matter for British Coal.
British Coal has indicated that the corporation is unlikely to offer any further closing pits for lease/licence. It is the Government's intention, therefore, to offer such pits in parallel to the privatisation regional packages. Such pits would meanwhile be kept on care and maintenance basis. Detailed arrangements will be announced within the next few weeks when expressions of interest are invited from potential bidders.
The chairman of British Coal has assured me that no equipment will be removed from the pits proposed for
Column 314closure at general review meetings last week unless it is essential for safety reasons or the reserves of any of the pits are reallocated to adjacent mines.
Ms Quin : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the latest progress on the final discussions on the clothing and textile section of the GATT round.
Mr. Needham : The final GATT Uruguay round textiles and clothing agreement sets out the methodology for the phase-out of the multi-fibre arrangement (MFA) over a 10-year period which will commence once the detail of the complete GATT package has been agreed.
The MFA phase-out will be in four stages, each consisting of the liberalisation of some quotas and an increase in the level of those quotas not eliminated. Detailed work on the content of each stage of the phase-out phase-is not yet completed although it has been agreed that smaller supplying countries will benefit sooner than the larger suppliers.
The phase-out of the MFA will be balanced by improved GATT rules to deal with unfair trading practices, better intellectual property rights and lower tariffs in many export markets. We have pressed the European Commission to seek improvements in the tariff reductions offered by some countries and it is currently continuing negotiations with India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Hong Kong with a view to achieving greater concessions than those offered at present. Negotiations will if necessary continue until Ministers sign the final GATT act in April.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many export licences have been granted in the last 10years for self-neutralising or self-destructing anti-personnel land mines.
Mr. Needham : It has been the policy of successive administrations not to disclose details about export licences that have been issued. In this case, in addition, the information requested could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.
Mr. McKelvey : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if Her Majesty's Government intends to request the European Commission to initiate GATT proceedings against the Chilean Government on account of their failure to respond to Her Majesty's Government's representations about their discriminatory taxation treatment of Scotch whisky.
Mr. Needham : My Department is in close touch with the Scotch Whisky Association about discriminatory taxation in Chile. Once it is clear what effect the outcome of the Uruguay round has had on this problem, all the options for future action including action by the European Commission in the GATT, will be considered.
Mr. McKelvey : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what recent representations have been made to the Japanese Government about the need for the outstanding liquor tax discrimination within the spirits sector to be eliminated this year.
Mr. Needham : The Government have made a number of high level representations to the Japanese Government in recent months regarding the continuing tax discrimination against foreign liquors in that country. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister raised the issue with the Japanese Prime Minister both in person during his visit to Tokyo in September 1993 and subsequently by letter. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade raised the issue with Japanese Ministers during his visit to Tokyo in January. I have also lobbied the Japanese Government, and the European Commission is actively pursuing the matter. This is an issue which concerns us greatly and one on which we are regularly in touch with the Scotch whisky industry.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will meet the chairman of the National Grid Corporation to discuss the allegations of ill health caused by electro-magnetic radiation fields given off from overhead transmission cables and electricity sub-stations.
Mr. Eggar : I meet the Chairman of National Grid Corporation from time to time to discuss a range of issues.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what response he has given to the letter from the President of the Nuclear Control Institute in Washington DC in regard to the economic viability of reprocessing at THORP ; and when he received the letter.
Mr. Eggar : The letter arrived on 2 February 1994. I shall be replying in due course.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he received the annual report and accounts for British Nuclear Fuels for 1992- 93 ; and if he will make a statement on the delay in completing these accounts.
Mr. Eggar : The annual report and accounts for British Nuclear Fuels plc for 1992-93 were published on 2 February 1994 and, in accordance with section 14 of the Atomic Energy Authority Act 1971, laid before both Houses of Parliament. On the question of timing, I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) on 16 December 1993, Official Report, column 756.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will set out the basis of his decision of 27 January not to refer the joint venture proposal involving British Nuclear Fuels plc, Ultra-Centrifuge Nederland NV, Uranit GMBH and Urenco Ltd. to the Monopolies Commission under the Fair Trading Act 1973.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : In accordance with advice from the Director General of Fair Trading, I decided not to refer the
Column 316proposed joint venture between British Nuclear Fuels plc, Ultra-Centrifuge Nederland NV, Uranit GMBH and Urenco Ltd. to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC) because it did not in my view raise competition or other relevant concerns warranting scrutiny by the MMC.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what has been the monthly sale of oil in (a) monetary value and (b) tonnage from the United Kingdom to Greece in each month since 1984.
Mr. Eggar : Data on monthly exports of oil by the United Kingdom to Greece since 1984 are available from the monthly Central Statistical Office publication "Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom". From July 1992 the exports are as follows :
United Kingdom oil<1> exports to Greece |£ million |Tonnes<2> 1992 July |0.3 |388 August |0.2 |348 September |0.8 |3,310 October |0.4 |662 November |0.4 |479 December |12.5 |129,039 1993 January |0.2 |- February |3.7 |- March |0.8 |- April |0.4 |- May |3.5 |- June |0.5 |- July |0.2 |- August |0.7 |- September |0.3 |-
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade pursuant to the answer of 19 January, Official Report , column 644 , if he will list the (a) United Kingdom and (b) Iraqi participants at the UN-Iraq Joint Commission of 27 to 30 November 1989.
Mr. Needham : The information requested is as follows :
The right hon. Lord Trefgarne, Minister for Trade
Mr. M. Petter, Head of Middle East Branch Department of Trade and Industry
Mr. J. Gallaher, Middle East Branch, Department of Trade and Industry
Mr. R. Higgins, Middle East Branch, Department of Trade and Industry
Dr. J. Warren, Head of Overseas Technical Information Unit, Department of Trade and Industry
Mr. S. Lawrence, Overseas Technical Information Unit, Department of Trade and Industry
Mr. R. Wild, Director Project of Group, Export Credit Guarantee Department
Mr. D. Coombe, Head of Project Division, Export Credit Guarantee Department
Mr. I. Foster
Project Division, Export Credit Guarantee Department
Column 317Mr. A. Brown
First Secretary Commercial, British Embassy, Baghdad
Mr. P. Sullivan
Head of Industrial Training, British Council
Mr. M. Edwards
Ministry of Agriculture
Mr. T. Crawley
Department of Health
Mr. R. Mackintosh
National Health Service, Overseas Enterprises
Dr. Mohammed Mehdi Saleh
Minister for Trade
Mr. Abdul Sahib Sattar Aziz
Protocol Division, Ministry of Trade (PS to Minister)
Mr. Farouk Al-Obaidi